Exercising during pregnancy is definitely recommended, but not all pregnancy exercises are created equal.
According to the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), healthy pregnant woman should be encouraged to engage in 30 minutes of mild to moderate exercise each day. Of course, any exercises that involves the risk of falling, heavy lifting, or harsh movements of the torso or joints should be limited due to the risks they can have to the pregnancy. Furthermore, pregnant woman who are just initiating an exercise program should do so under the careful consideration of their health care provider. In other words, the days after finding out you are pregnant is not the time to start training for a marathon.
The benefits to exercise during pregnancy are immense. And while you may be feeling so fatigued that going out for an evening walk may be the last thing you want to do, the reality is that exercise can actually help your body to release endorphins which will in turn, give you more energy. Exercise can also help you to regulate your weight gain, and can ensure that you are in good shape come labor and delivery.
Unfortunately, as pregnancy progresses you may feel too large, or too cumbersome to engage in aerobic activities and may find that simple things such as walking, are hard on your back or increase the swelling in your feet. And this is precisely where swimming comes in.
Swimming is perhaps one of the best exercises that a pregnant woman can engage in. For one thing, when your pregnant body is in the water it is fully supported by the water, which means that your back, ligaments and joints are not carrying the weight of your body. Additionally exercise in general, and swimming in particular because it utilizes the large muscle groups of your body, helps to keep your blood flowing properly and can help alleviate some of the circulation problems that many women experience during pregnancy. When your blood is circulating and flowing properly, nutrients are delivered more efficiently to your baby. Additionally, the exercise increases your oxygen production to both you and your baby. And unlike running or walking or bicycling, the swimming is not harsh on your body and doesn’t involve any jarring or excess pressure on the joints.
Another benefit to swimming is that you will be less likely to overheat while exercising. Pregnancy can cause immense changes in body temperature and your body’s tendency to sweat, which can make it easy to dehydrate when exercising outdoors. In the swimming pool, you are able to maintain a more comfortable (and safer) body temperature. However, it is important that even while swimming which exerts energy that you stay hydrated before and after exercise.
Recently, there have been some reports that swimming in chlorinated pools can be harmful to the developing fetus due to chlorine levels in the pool. However, according to research from Dr. Mark Nieuwenhuijsen of the Department of Environmental Science and Technology at Imperial College in London, “there is no scientific evidence that a woman can be harmed during pregnancy by the chemicals in pools or their by-products.” Pregnant women should take care to shower off before and after swimming (as should non-pregnant swimmers), avoid hot tubs and scuba diving, and realize that the benefits of swimming during pregnancy far outweigh any far-fetched reports otherwise.
If you would like to keep in shape and are looking for a prenatal exercise that is safe, effective and comfortable while pregnant then you should consider swimming. Talk to your health care provider beforehand and look for classes in your area that are specifically designed for pregnant woman. Not only will you get the exercise you need, but you might make some good friends along the way.
Written by Stef, Mother of 4 @Mom-Spirational
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.